Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jonah Goldberg Is Getting Deep Man

In today's LA Times, Jonah Goldberg discusses the Jonathon Chait piece on the netroots that has created a lot of buzz. Goldberg opines:
Chait is a thoughtful critic of the netroots, but he shares with them a common false assumption: that conservative victories are the result of PR campaigns, partisan discipline and organizational guile. For the better part of a decade now, liberals have been trying to re-create the media of the American right — talk radio, think tanks, etc. — without spending much effort trying to replicate the message. Democratic gurus continue to claim that if they just repackage their old ideas in pretty wrapping, they'll win all day long.

The conservative movement was a response to generations of growing statism at home and abroad. From the Progressive era to the Great Society, government seemed to be expanding in tandem with the threat of communism. The conservative project was first and foremost an intellectual one because, as Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell has written, it takes an ideology to beat an ideology.

What a load of crap. The conservative movement has all been about convincing people to vote against their economic interests in order to support a social agenda that never quite materializes. Sure they may talk purty at the think tanks, but alot of that is window dressing. Average voters don't go into the polling stations armed with the latest blathering from the Heritage foundation, and weighing it against what they learned by watching an AEI seminar.

They listen to Rush Limbaugh lie, and lie, and lie. They hear politicians say that this next time they will surely ban the abortion, and surpress the homosexuals this next time if they get one more chance. They lie about tax policy, trying to convince a family of four that generates $50,000 that they need to repeal the estate tax, even capped at $10,000,000 because it could happen to them too and not just the Waltons and Paris Hilton.

Having Jonah "The semen strained dress legacy" Goldberg lecture about intellectual integrity is a bit much. He literally would not be able to discuss the Simpsons and Battlestar Galactica all day if his mom wasn't kinky, creepy, and sleazy. That was his connection into the right wing world.

Conservatism was an intellectual movement, from about 1964 to 1968. After that point, it has been reactionary. We don't speak bluntly enough about the Southern Strategy, but the whole point was getting a Republican majority by peeling off redneck white democratic voters who cared more about surpressing people based on their skin color than anything else; except for Thomas Sowell. He is a good negro.

The Chait piece had good points, but is flawed. Many of us on the left side of the aisle would like the truth out there, and let the chips fall where they may. Sure, we may not have the intellectual fire power of a Jonah Goldberg, a William Kristol, John Podhoritz or any other legacy wingnut. But, we think we get it right a bit more often than these folks do. Yet, for some strange reason they get on that liberal tv a lot more than our champions do. It must be a statistical quirk or something.

Perhaps Goldberg is right though, and isn't just cruising off the Gap dress gravy train no more. He was right about Iraq after all wasn't he? He sure dressed down liberal Juan Cole two years ago about his views about the war's success. Sure Cole has studied the region, speaks the language, and keeps up to date (no, he isn't allowed on tv either). But Goldberg saw the big picture in February 2005.
Cole is messianic and Manichean. I don't have any agenda to silence or marginalize the guy. I simply wanted to call attention to the fact that a well-regarded scholar said some silly things. He did. His vanity couldn't handle it and so he exploded with invectives and more silly statements.

Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there's another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I'm all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc.

One caveat: Because I don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I'll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is.

Robert Scheer was fired to make space for Jonah Goldberg at the LA Times.

We are doomed.